Sankofa International, Inc. (Sankofa) Proves to be Proactive In New Africa Awareness Initiative

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At the 2005 Group of Eight (G8) meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, leaders of the nations agreed to double assistance to Africa to fight malaria, address humanitarian needs, improve education, increase development assistance, encourage greater trade and investment, and more. Sankofa has been addressing these needs, and more, since 1994, specifically in rural villages in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

In partnership with the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Sankofa completed more than three hundred medical exams on students and teachers and purchased prescription medication for one hundred-fifty students, preventing major illnesses and premature deaths. Sankofa also conducted HIV/AIDS education to help fight the killer disease. In partnership with the District Director of Education’s Office, Sankofa awarded four Secondary School and two Technical School scholarships (all expenses paid) to needy students. Without the scholarships, these young people, like so many others, would be living non-productive lives on the streets of Ghana, through no fault of their own. Sankofa also repaired structural damage to the old village school in Adum Afrancho/Odumasi, added a new wing to the school, and purchased school supplies and equipment for students and teachers.

To support economic development and to meet other immediate needs of the people, Sankofa collected used clothes from its supporters in the U.S.A., paid shipping costs, and donated the clothes to the needy in Ghana. Furthermore, Sankofa has recently broken ground on a solar powered, five story building that will house a general supply store, medical facility, Internet café, used clothing processing center, classrooms and other training facilities, library, and more. This building will provide jobs for people who live in an area where the unemployment rate exceeds ninety percent.        

Sankofa, in collaboration with the leadership and people of 11 rural villages in the Ashanti Region, developed plans to implement a transportation system to help ease the suffering of approximately 10,000 people, which is the total population of the 11 villages.

Currently, village residents walk up to 5 miles, one way, to a main road to wait on unreliable transportation. Even worse, they often have to carry heavy loads. Many suffer neck, back, and spinal cord problems, at a very young age, due to carrying heavy loads on their head for long distances. In the early phases of this program, two passenger vans and a cargo van will be used to support the transportation system, scheduled to begin in late 2006. However, the need is so great that, in October 2005, Sankofa will return to Ghana to discuss plans for expansion. Sankofa will offer scheduled runs to all villages during rush hour. Outside of rush hour, residents can call for services. It is noteworthy to mention that Sankofa will be implementing a communications system with the transportation program to provide a more effective means for responding to emergency situations that may arise within the village areas. For instance, currently, for medical emergencies, a child will run to the main road for a taxi to take the individual to a medical facility, which can take hours. In the near future, an emergency call will be made to Sankofa’s central communications hub where local transportation can be dispatched or where the appropriate authority can be contacted. The residents are elated over these plans and thank God for bringing Sankofa into their lives.

To help expand Africa awareness and to support investment and trade, Sankofa scheduled a group trip to Ghana in 2004 and has annual trips scheduled through 2010. In 2004, the journey, involving nine individuals, was so life-changing that Sankofa, in collaboration with C.A. Benjamin Associates, LLC, chronicled the journey in an explosive documentary entitled “400 Years and an Ocean Apart.” The documentary was shown to selective audiences during February 2005 in celebration of Black History Month and recently shown to audiences in response to this New African Awareness Initiative. In 2006, over twenty individuals will take the same journey. Contact Sankofa if you are interested in the documentary or would like more details about the journey.

Sankofa’s mission is to enhance the quality of life of needy Africans, especially children, living in rural African villages. With continued oversight, Sankofa provides a consistent and organized foundation, along with the technical guidance and assistance needed so that problem areas can be addressed effectively at the grass roots level. Short to mid-term, the expected outcome is continued growth and development to help ease the everyday suffering of the people. Long-term, the expected outcome is the creation of communities and people who are self-sustaining.

Since its founding in 1994 by Mr. Richard C. Willis, Sankofa has not received any corporate/government sponsorship. Therefore, to establish and maintain programs, Sankofa founders along with a handful of supporters have covered the overwhelming majority of related expenses. The remainder has been covered by individual donations.

Sankofa has received global recognition. Fox T.V. news covered Sankofa’s annual fundraiser and aired portions of the program, CNN and Comcast aired a story on Sankofa, and the Prince George’s Journal in Maryland printed a front page article on Sankofa’s efforts. In Ghana, the Ghana News printed an article covering medical exams and scholarships and Sankofa officials have been interviewed on numerous Ghana radio stations. Finally, in recognition of Sankofa’s efforts, Sankofa officials were invited to the Palace of Otumfoo Osei Tutu II, the Supreme Ashanti Leader.

Sankofa is a 501© (3) public charity and is continually looking for both public and private financial support to continue this worth-while mission.

Richard C. Willis, Chief Executive Officer

Yaw Fobi Agyapong, Treasurer

Everett W. Hackney, Secretary

P.O. Box 27174

Washington, D.C. 20038


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Richard C. Willis
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